Sailor Sophie Bonvin's Guide To Sail Around The World
Over the last few years, we can pat ourselves on the back for making it past the pandemic’s peak months with travel bans and restrictions. Now that everything seems a little lighter, we’ve come up with some of the best places to go sailing. We can’t help thinking about gorgeous, white-sandy beaches, vivid blue-green oceans, and those picturesque sunsets.
Sailing on a yacht and savouring those serene moments is always at the top of the list when travelling in style. While choosing the finest sailing destination can be difficult, we have put together a list of the top 10 best sailing destinations, filled with beautiful scenery, exciting water activities, and, of course, gourmet cuisine, to satisfy all your needs.
Whether you want to swim with exotic flamingos or dolphins in the Caribbean; add a European flair to your cruising by sailing across the Mediterranean coast; or intrepid on a customized US East coast expedition, you are in for a remarkable trip. For those lucky enough to see the world on a luxury yacht, here are the best places to experience:
1. French Polynesia
In the South Pacific Ocean, French Polynesia is home to a number of dazzling islands such as Bora Bora, Raiatea, and Tahiti, which are surrounded by wide azure bays. A sailing excursion in French Polynesia is the pinnacle of exoticism, and it will not let you down at any moment. All of the little islands of French Polynesia have a lot more to offer, from diving into enticing blue lochs and lazing on tranquil beaches to meeting some exotic species. Nevertheless, by picturing yourself swimming with those beautiful pink flamingos against a magnificent backdrop of blue seas, feasting in a delectable platter, and experiencing a dreamlike sunset; you know it would undoubtedly be an unforgettable experience.
Turquoise lakes are positioned against an unusual backdrop of serrated jungle hills, making it a snorkeler’s and water-sports enthusiast’s paradise. They also have coral gardens with rainbow colours that are unique to the world. Tereia Beach in Maupiti, in particular, is so striking that it’s hard to believe it hasn’t been colour-edited. At low tide, you may paddle to Motu Auria, a wooded cove, via the knee-deep lagoon and look out for amicable rays and (harmless) black-tip sharks on your journey.
Visit Bora Bora’s La Matira Beach Restaurant, a posh restaurant with Instagram-worthy beach views and a status for the best Polynesian, Japanese, and French food.
A sailing vacation in Fiji is designed to allow you to visit these little islands (approximately 330 of them), while also providing an exhilarating and imaginary experience of discovering the rainforests and unruffled water lagoons in a postcard-perfect setting. Names like the Mamanucas and Yasawas glide off the tongue easily when it comes to picking an ideal tropical beach. And these island groupings offer everything from luxury hideaways to a sailing hub spot – topping the list of most visited destinations by Asians and Australians.
Correspondingly, Vanua Levu and Taveuni are verdant rain-soaked islets with trekking paths, cascades, and daffodil forests, though pristine Kadavu attracts divers to the world’s fourth-biggest coral reef. If you can’t decide between all of these tropical delights, you can cover them all on your yacht in approximately eight days.
Moreover, the island also hosts some of the finest restaurants as the likes of Visitors dine at Beach Cocomo Vakacegu Café, where their meals are served in an open-windowed, thatched-roof cottage that retains a typical Fijian appeal; Tokoriki Oishii delivers some of Fiji’s greatest Japanese cuisine, this modest café, which is a little different from the ordinary diner, serves some of the best food in the country; and the Flying Fish Restaurant is renowned for its unique innovative culinary delights and wonderful ambiance, are to mention a few.
3. St. Vincent and Grenadines Islands
Only nine of the 32 islands and beaches that make up St. Vincent and the Grenadines are inhabited. It is one of the world’s most popular destinations for leisure cruisers, who come here to enjoy the many uncrowded abutments and beautiful sites of interest. The Grenadines make up the northern two-third of the 150-square-mile island cluster, while St. Vincent makes up the centre. Furthermore, the Lesser Antilles is another island cluster that is off the coast of St. Lucia and west of Barbados, making it an ideal sailing path for you to explore.
The Tobago Cays, with their secluded black and white sand beaches and rich tropical flora, are a popular diving destination. Bequia, the largest and most beautiful of the Grenadines islands, lies only a few miles south of St. Vincent and has only one genuine town, Port Elizabeth. It’s a wonderful, quiet port with a pedestrian walkway that wraps around much of the sea. Mustique, a 1,400-acre private island in the Grenadines, also welcomes some of the world’s most prestigious visitors.
The variety of water activities and swimming adventures is significantly greater, and don’t forget about the charming sailing routes, which will not disappoint you. Basil’s Bar Mustique, Sugar Reef Café, The Snack Shak, and Sparrow’s Beach Club are just a few of the restaurants on the island that serve delicious food.
4. The Caribbean Islands of Antigua, Barbuda, St Barth and Anguilla
These lovely islands, which are acknowledged as one of the best Caribbean islands to sail across, offer you an array of activities during the summer. Whether it’s kayaking or deep-sea diving, you witness some of the unique aquatic species. Anguilla’s tranquil, easy-going vibe is aided by the Caribbean Sea’s gorgeous blue-to-green oceans and countless kilometres of flawless white sand beaches. It is also a 16-mile-long, three-mile-wide island with 33 beaches and more than 12 miles of stunning crystal-clear shoreline. The island’s best sunset views may be seen from Rendezvous Bay’s long, smooth shore to Crocus Bay’s plush beaches and beautiful coral cliffs.
St. Barts, a French-speaking Caribbean archipelago, is known as a top performer, with dry, rough terrain, a few beautiful beaches, and little neighbouring islands. The capital, Gustavia, is centred on a sailboat harbour and features a mix of high-end restaurants, trendy shops, and cultural landmarks. Also, visit Île Fourchue, a private islet with a magnificent berth where you can jump off and see beautiful tropical fish, rays, and turtles, located in the north.
Correspondingly, the Caribbean Sea washes almost the whole coast of Antigua, which is surrounded by 95 miles of stunning coastline. Her sister, Barbuda, is surrounded by reefs and has a large bay. The people of the islands are known for their friendliness and hospitality, as well as beautiful pink and white sand beaches, crystal blue waters, and a rewarding and delightful aether. We are certain that you will be surrounded by nature, aquatic life, and culture throughout your approximately 12-day sailing trip, which will warm your heart.
5. Cape Cod to New York City
While sailing across the Eastern Coast of the US is considered a class in itself, many sailors would avoid doing it during the summer months due to the weather’s unpredictability. Regardless, the trip would take at least 8-9 days, with stops in Newport, Block Island, and Mystic thrown in for good measure. If you’re going to travel this path, bear in mind those few tips to follow are, not to rush through the changes and to constantly keep an eye on the weather forecast. And, of course, a strong boat capable of surviving the Atlantic Ocean’s wind and currents.
However, your journey will take you across Maine and Nantucket. Maine is recognized for its lobster, making the cuisine appetising, but bear in mind, it is also notorious for its storms and dismal weather. When you’re driving in the fog and the bells are ringing to guide you, it’s awe-inspiring. Despite the darkness of the ocean, the beach is stunning with several seals that can be seen. Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard are lovely villages with vibrant restaurants and retail scenes. The most distinguishing aspect of your vacation will be arriving in New York aboard own boat, following in the footsteps of the early immigrants.
6. San Blas Islands and Panama City
San Blas Islands, also known as Guna Yala, is a territory that encompasses a small sliver of land on the Caribbean side of the nation, as well as an atoll of 365 islands, only 50 of which are inhabited by Guna people. It is a renowned tourist destination in Panama due to its well-preserved splendid scenery, the sea’s gorgeous aqua tint, and the fine sand, which is managed and regulated by the indigenous Guna people. Traveling to Guna Yala is unlike any other commercial vacation you have ever had. Instead, you will have the opportunity to immerse yourself in the local culture and cuisine.
You will have to rely on your yacht for transportation because there are no hotels. On a shared boat, sailing cruises cost $190 per person per night, including all meals, but catamaran cruises will cost $250 per night per person.
A trip via the Panama Canal will be the pinnacle of the holiday. Oh, and don’t forget about the hearty meals, such as fresh crab and lobster feasts. Add unexpected encounters with starfish, dolphins, and perhaps even sea turtles to your bucket list, but remember not to touch or scoop up any animals you come across. Finishing with a week-long trip filled with aquatic activities, nature-inspired activities, and plenty of delectable cuisines, making it a one-of-kind summer trip.
7. Capri, Ponza, Sardinia and Magdalena Islands
Nothing beats an Italian summer – Italy is one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations, but there’s much to see and do off the beaten road, like a sail trip around the sun-drenched beaches and genuine Italian beauty. You can reach Corsica and Sardinia by heading west in the Mediterranean to the more remote islands of Palmarola and Ponza. Each island has a number of small fishing villages as well as protected bays that are inaccessible by land. It makes a spot where you may partake in a variety of crazy water sports. Also, on Sardinia’s north-east coast, you can go to the Maddalena Islands – a hard to miss summery spot.
In terms of sophisticated luxury, Capri’s island hideaways are unrivalled. Capri is famed for its marine-ancient ruins and unusual architecture, and it has acted as a vacation for a lot of celebrities. It also serves as a backdrop for your sailing itinerary. Return to the peninsula and the lovely village of Positano, which should take no more than an hour.
The coastline is stunning, and travellers who come by yacht may take in incredible views of Positano. Relax on the sun deck or sunbathe in the afternoon, or have some fun while having a plunge in the pool. Besides, the shallow seas to the south of Palmarola are good for swimming, and the beaches are perfect for picnics. Cave exploration and snorkelling are popular activities in the area, and if you still have time, don’t miss out on visiting Ponza – which is surrounded by spectacular cliffs and coves and has lovely, richly coloured buildings, is bordered by magnificent cliffs and coves.
8. Greece, Corfu and Ionia Islands
The North Ionian Islands, which are located off the coast of western Greece, are full with lovely and appealing harbours as well as picture-perfect anchorages with crystal blue sea. You may visit some of the most gorgeous harbours on the Ionian Islands while exploring this enclave and creating a one-of-a-kind experience. Venetian architecture, beautiful pine and cypress woodlands, sandy beaches, calm blue seas, and distinctive animals such as the loggerhead sea turtle surround the island.
Additionally, the islands of Corfu and Paxos defend this sailing location with constant afternoon breezes. Enjoy your nights surfing and resting in the vibrantly ethnic Greek town wharves and coves, which will transport you to the Caribbean.
Corfu Town, just a few kilometres down the shore, is a fantastic place to explore during your first week of sailing. Petriti is the place to go if you want to get away from it all and explore farther afield. Petriti is a charming village on Corfu’s eastern shore. Also, whether you’re seeking for Gyros, Kleftiko, or Greek meze dinners, there are numerous eateries to select from in the secret streets.
9. Baleares, Palma to Ibiza
The Balearic Islands are a sailing enthusiast’s dream. These islands have something for everyone, from the picturesque Mallorca to the astounding Formentera. Begin your sailing trip when you arrive in Palma by spending the day on the gorgeous seas. Palma is a terrific area to spend your first evening, with plenty of restaurants and bars to choose from, as well as street entertainment and nightclubs to keep you entertained.
Later, you may take your boat to Porroig, a little village on Ibiza’s south coast that is significantly less developed than its surroundings. The sailing voyage continues to Ibiza, Europe’s party capital. Ibiza is not just a centre for nightlife, but it’s also a great area to go sailing and do some crazy activities. Kayaking into calm coves, a trancelike spot for outdoor meditation, and the flair of beach-side seafood barbecues are just a few examples.
The much-anticipated sailing holiday to Mallorca is definitely on the itinerary. When you return to Mallorca, the stunning Santi and Mondrago Natural Park, which is definitely worth a visit and has several excellent walks, should be your first stop. Close by is a magnificent white sand beach with rich blue seas on both sides, ideal for swimming and getting ‘that’ tan!
10. Brazil, Rio, Ilha Grande and Paraty
The sailing adventure is expected to take 7-8 days and concludes with an epic week of sailing over Rio’s East coast (depending on how many days you want to sail). Starting your sail journey from one of Brazil’s 365 islands, Ilha Grande, the biggest of them all, is a good place to start. You may unwind and relax while exploring those 109 beaches by diving and sunbathing, or travel to the busy section of the bay, owing to the various bars and restaurants along the shore. After that, you may take a trip to López Méndez, on the island’s southern tip. A 2km-long stretch of undeveloped fine sand beach is backed by crystal blue waves. The beach in López Méndez is very attractive, particularly when viewed from the ocean while watching the sunset.
The next port of call on your sailing voyage is Paraty, with the possibility for more daring sailors to visit some of the nearby small islands. Paraty is a charming city with stunning landscape; stop by and see the many art galleries and renowned cafes, as well as dance the night away.
Make a pit break in Araçatiba’s beautiful harbour and beach on your way back to Ilha Grande. This charming little beach is the island’s second most popular tourist attraction, and it’s the perfect place to unwind. Take advantage of the mind-blowing scenery, Brazilian coastlines, and crystal-clear waters.
By Vibha Mehta